FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2009
Brian Long, director
NCDA&CS Public Affairs
(919) 733-4216, ext. 242
(919) 218-7048 (cell)
Erin Foster, marketing manager
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest N.C.
Increased federal spending on food assistance will benefit
North Carolina hunger-relief agencies
WINSTON-SALEM — Federal support for North Carolina’s hunger-relief agencies will triple this year, and the extra help couldn’t come at a better time, food bank and state agriculture officials said Friday.
Through last year’s farm bill and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Congress has made $350 million available nationally to the Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that provides food to states for distribution to food banks, soup kitchens and similar organizations. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services delivers the commodities to hunger-relief agencies across the state.
“We expect to distribute $30 million worth of USDA commodities in North Carolina this year, compared with $9 million a year ago,” state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said at a press conference at Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. “There will be a lot more food coming into North Carolina, and we’ll be getting it out to people who need it.”
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina should receive nearly $2.4 million worth of commodities this year, a 180 percent increase from 2008, Troxler said.
Clyde Fitzgerald, executive director of the food bank, said the increased support is needed. “Our network of partner agencies tells us that the demand for food assistance from their clients is at an average 76 percent increase. And much of this startling increase is being driven by first-time requestors,” Fitzgerald said. “These are people who previously had jobs but, through no fault of their own, have lost them. They need help to stretch scarce resources and obtain food, medicine, housing and fuel to take care of their families. And they need it now.”
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina collects and distributes donated food and grocery products to more than 415 nonprofit partner agencies that annually feed thousands of people in need throughout 18 counties.
The NCDA&CS Food Distribution Division delivers commodities to nearly 200 hunger-relief organizations statewide, including food banks, county social service agencies, food pantries and soup kitchens.